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Looking for ideas on my family room area
sandrasoulflower
December 10, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I've been wanting to post and ask for help for a long time. Now may not be a good time to do it with all of the Christmas decorations in process but I had the time so here it is.

We live on a lake and have lots of windows. I'm looking for different ideas for arranging my furniture or any pointers you might have from things that jump out at you.

Please ignore the toy kitchen and toy box. It won't be there for always, but right now it is greatly enjoyed. ;)

I didn't want to get rid of the old pub table in the window but it looks squeezed in and is not very functional other than as a table for my husbands notebook computer.

I appreciate any and all input. If you have questions or need more photos, please ask.
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sandrasoulflower
One more photo
December 10, 2012 at 11:48am   
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TanCalGal
DR: I like the buffet lamps, mirror, diagonal tiles, window tx. and furniture. Not sure why chandy is not centered in the middle of room? R U able to pull out the chairs by the window without hitting the wall? There should be 24 inches from edge of table to wall for ease of pulling out chairs. What is on wall over rolling cart? The crown molding is not showing up to full advantage. The ceiling paint could be a little darker. photo Cortese Dining Room 3

LR: probably too much furniture. I might move the matching beige chairs to each side of fireplace, the sofa move more toward the fireplace. I'd remove the pub table. I cannot see the fireplace, but I'd move the urns to the floor in front of fireplace. Maybe there would be room for a cute small table for computer under the single window. A few inspiration photos Bountiful Traditional Family Room

I'd paint the e-center white: photo Coastal Den

Not sure if this is an option, but the sofa could go where the e-center is and the e-center in the entry.
December 11, 2012 at 1:42pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Great suggestions! The chandelier is centered over the table instead of in the room. There is also some can lighting over the buffet. Yes, there's 24 inches from the edge of the table to the wall, so the chairs do OK.

Would the urns on the fireplace look better with a smaller picture or one that is more up and down?

Great idea about painting the entertainment center. It would lighten things up. It is pre-finished from a furniture store and actually three different pieces that I just pushed together. What type of paint would I use.

I've also considered putting it all on that wall like you mentioned or even breaking it up and putting the two book cases behind the sofa on the wall you can see in the second picture. I'm not sure what I would do with everything else then. I have a chest with the other two chairs to the pub table there now.

At one time, I had the couch where the chairs are and the two chairs facing the fireplace. I liked it but I'm not sure if that is acceptable. It does not create a smooth walk through.

The house is oddly shaped for views of the lake. Around the corner from the dining room is the kitchen which turns into straight tile (as opposed to diagonal.

I hope all this makes sense. Great suggestions.

I would like new lamps for my den and a new rug later. I'd love ideas for that too. Thanks so much.
December 11, 2012 at 2:09pm   
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sandrasoulflower
A few more pictures:

behind the sofa
above the rolling tea cart
the kitchen

Kitchen cabinets are cherry. I was wondering if they should be painted instead.

Thank you! I really do appreciate the pictures; it helps me get a clear idea/example of what is suggested.
December 11, 2012 at 2:25pm   
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sandrasoulflower
ooops, above tea cart
December 11, 2012 at 2:28pm   
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pcmom1
Yes, I would like to see those two tv watching chairs moved. I'm sure they are very comfy, but so big! If you take them out of the living room, the sofa could go where they are for tv watching. Those two chairs could go against the back wall (in nook where toy kitchen is) to create a reading area.

I like the pub table but think a small desk might be better.

Then just some tweaks: I would remove everything from the top of the bookcases. I would add a wood piece to the top to make it seem like one unit.

The fireplace seems very top heavy. Use the two urns on the dining room table. Put them on top of a table runner. By the fireplace I would add a large basket to the floor to hold some logs. On the other side add some fireplace tools. Even if you have a gas fireplace, it makes it more "real".

Try the dining room mirror over the fireplace (fireplace needs something smaller and more vertical). Put the art that is over the fireplace in the dining room where the mirror was. The dining room right now is a little formal and cold. That will give some color and warm up the space. A sisal rug under the dining table would be nice too.

Oh, and a round rug with some color by your front door! Merry Christmas!
December 11, 2012 at 2:58pm   
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bmarie2012
Yes! get rid of the stuff on top of the fireplace its for sure too top heavy. Your keruig needs to be moved to the small counter top next to the fridge, its a bulky appliance that seems out of place in the living room. Pub table and the lamp in the corner need to go. Same with all the chairs I would maybe do a love seat, couch combo. If the room seems too small then just take out the two smaller chairs they dont seem to go with the cushy feel of the living room... great suggestions above :)
December 11, 2012 at 3:07pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Thank you.

Trying another oil painting there for now (because I would need help to move the mirror.) Is this better? What would I put on the mantle? The mantle is actually wider and wraps around the faux chimney.

Great idea about the urns on the table. I'd never thought of that. They are large and with the greenery, you can't see over them. Should I take the greenery out? After Christmas I'll have the leaves out of the table so it will be smaller. I just left it from our family Thanksgiving. What should I do about a rug in that case? It needs to be large enough to accommodate the largest table?

A sisal rug is a good idea. It wouldn't clash with the printed rug in the family room. Since the front door joins the family room too, will it matter if the round rug does not match?

Thank you for all the ideas here.
December 11, 2012 at 3:18pm     
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sandrasoulflower
We have a large family and need a lot of seating. Is there a love seat that would go with the already existing leather sofa (since I can't match it)? Budget will not allow for all new furniture right now. ;) I'm trying to change things up that I already have to improve things.
December 11, 2012 at 3:24pm   
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TanCalGal
I like the urns on DR table as PCMom1 suggested! I couldn't see original picture on FP so not sure which one I like best. I don't like the 2 beige chairs where they are b/c the wall is too short for them. Wall also too short for sofa. Furniture on short wall seems disruptive to flow. Brown chair could go to left of sofa (right angles), if beige chairs flanked fireplace. If e-center was painted: talk to a paint store. Probably sand with 200 grit, then primer, then a low gloss semigloss/satin. I'd paint in color of your trim but might also look good in an antiqued glaze like this photo


I like lamps & rug U have. I usually like the matching lamps on either side of sofa. I make large life size templates of furniture and move that around. This is a good tut. on arranging a room: http://www.ehow.com/how_7244848_set-room-layout.html
I like kitchen cabinets-would not paint. I LOVE all of your art. Maybe the pub table + chairs could go in entry instead of chest ?
December 11, 2012 at 4:19pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Thanks, ollj22. More good ideas. The urns on the fireplace are in one of the several photos in the original posting.

Do all of you like the urns with all the greenery in it, even if it blocks the view of the person across the table?
December 11, 2012 at 4:31pm     
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TanCalGal
Yes, I saw the urns on the FP and prefer them as PCMom suggested on the DR table. I was talking about the original art on FP compared to the art that is there, now. I could not see original art too well.
I love the tall greenery in the urns-very stylish. I would only keep urns on table when I was not using table. For entertaining, I'd remove them and have something low as you said----not good to block view of person across table.
December 11, 2012 at 4:39pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Oh, I see. The original art was too wide, I think. It took up most of the entire space and looked too heavy. I changed to a smaller piece of art work. Where the mirror is now is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. I sorta like that about it there.
December 11, 2012 at 4:52pm   
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decoenthusiaste
Like the urn and FP changes you've made. Can you lower the picture about 4" above the mantel? Don't know if you'd consider this because it may require having the cable people come out. I would like to see the e-center placed inside the niche that is now behind the sofa. I'd prefer four chairs - two armchairs and two swivel chairs so folks in the swivels could turn toward FP or TV at will. Would turn the rug and center it in the space. Flank the FP with the two armchairs and put the two swivels with their backs to the dining room, maybe with the tea cart and a 3rd lamp between them. The sofa would face them, on the rug with both end tables and lamps. Pub table and chairs would go in the area behind the sofa where the e-center is now. Your ornate dining room mirror and chickens are a bit of a contradiction. Like both but not together. Is there a wall in the kitchen where the chickens would fit? If you want to change your cabinetry, look at rustoleumtransformations.com for a new product that is getting great results.
Contemporary Virginia Beach Swivel Occasional Chair
Rebecca Leather Swivel Chair
December 11, 2012 at 5:18pm   
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sandrasoulflower
The picture is 5 1/2 inches above the mantle. I could change it if that would make a difference. It's just a matter of changing an anchor and a screw. I hung it that high so that if I had things on the mantle they wouldn't cover up the picture....but I really didn't know the correct height.

Now I need to know what I should put on the mantle (when Christmas decorations are down).

There's no wall space inside the kitchen area. The mirror and the chickens are from a previous house where the mirror was in the dining room and the chickens were in the kitchen hanging side by side. I don't have that setup here and i love them both so I was just trying to find a place to use them.

Thanks for the ideas!
December 11, 2012 at 5:27pm   
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pcmom1
For rugs, Home Decorators has a huge selection. Just look for ones that would "go" with your living room rug's colors: something muted and soft.

I don't think you need anything on your mantel. I would like you to make the base seem larger, however. After Christmas, bring the brown leather chair close and add a plant or basket to the other side.
December 11, 2012 at 5:42pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Please explain the "I would like you to make the base seem larger"...?? Also, do you mean the chair that is beside the Christmas Tree? It is upholstery and not leather but I can do that! I usually have a very small rectangular table beside it but took it out to make space with the tree. You are saying add a plant or basket to side beside the fireplace? or on the side beside the entertainment center? What about the floor lamp beside that chair? Should I get rid of that?
December 11, 2012 at 5:54pm   
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pcmom1
Sorry I didn't explain better. To me the fireplace seems top heavy because it is narrow with that mantel wrapping around. Just want to add some bulk to the floor around it to balance that.
December 11, 2012 at 6:00pm     
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sfloy
Regarding your question about painting the kitchen cabinets: I love the finish and would leave them. You have a lot of wonderful suggestions for your family room. If budget allows in future, a sectional might solve some of your seating arrangement concerns. Very beautiful home.
December 11, 2012 at 6:24pm   
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TanCalGal
If you feel the mantel needs something more, look around your house 4 stuff. Maybe the candles that are in kitchen? 2-3 on one side and something to balance on the other side
December 11, 2012 at 6:29pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I think you are right. a sectional would probably be perfect.

I did get so many wonderful suggestions. Thank you all so much.
December 11, 2012 at 6:55pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I am also still curious about the rug for the front door. It is practically in the same room, just a narrowed entry way. How much contrast can it have with the other living room rug? That's one reason I got the jute rug. I didn't have any idea what to do there.
December 11, 2012 at 6:57pm   
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pcmom1
Your living room rug has a lot of soft colors in it. I think as long as you keep the same soft tones going on in your foyer, it will be fine.
December 12, 2012 at 2:45pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Christmas is over and all the decorations are down. I made a few changes with what I have and wanted to get your ideas.

I pushed the pub table into the corner like a writing table and removed one chair so that it opened up the view of the lake.

I moved the matching end tables and lamps to each end of the sofa.

I put another smaller table and floor lamp between the two big chairs and squared them up instead of having them at an angle.

I am trying the two red stools in from of the fireplace. I tried to lighten up the mantle - the big urns are on the dining room table.

I also put a round rug that I already had at the front door.

I'm sorry that it was late when I took the pictures and they are sorta dark. Please offer opinions on what works and what doesn't. What is better and what's worse. Many thanks!
December 29, 2012 at 3:15pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Two more....
December 29, 2012 at 3:17pm   
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pcmom1
Oh, I like what you've done! And, what a beautiful lake view!

Only thing I would suggest is moving the red ottomans, just a little. I would push the one closest to the desk, over more to the side of the fireplace. Just a foot.

Then, the other one I would place between the brown (leather?) chair and entertainment center. If you place tray on the top it could be used as a table for that chair.
December 29, 2012 at 3:27pm   
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Karen Emmons
It looks great. The one and only thing I do keep being drawn to are the items placed on top of the entertainment center. Think they may look better clear of anything.
December 29, 2012 at 3:29pm     
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TanCalGal
Nice! I think I'd do a 2-2-1 pillow arrangement (see photo) and add 2 olive green velvet pillows to sofa to repeat tones in rug. Pulp Design Studios Nice! Contemporary Pillows
December 29, 2012 at 3:41pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Thank you! Good idea about the pillows. Is this better with the stools and the top of the entertainment center? I don't have a tray that will work but can check on that.
December 29, 2012 at 3:48pm     
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Jen Visser
This is looking great! What a transformation. The entertainment center does look better without anything on top and moving the pub table to act as a desk really helped too.
December 29, 2012 at 4:29pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Thanks! I tried the table on the wall behind the sofa and I really loved it there and it would be useful but I couldn't find anywhere to move the chest that was there. Also, I think I needed something heavier in the corner behind the chairs to balance things.

I tried the two matching chairs on each side of the fireplace but I don't like that your back is to the lake and you can't enjoy the view.

How are the two stools in the new positions?
December 29, 2012 at 4:36pm   
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fabia
Hey, I really liked the first painting over the fireplace,. Please put back. Just loose the urns.
December 29, 2012 at 4:49pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Really? Even though it was as large as the area?
December 29, 2012 at 4:52pm   
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fabia
Yes, absolutely sandrasoulflower. I loved the mood and colours. It was difficult to see the subject.. I am not sure of the red stools. Actually don't like them there. Sorry. MAybe keep them for another room. Is it important to keep the table behind the fireplace?
December 29, 2012 at 4:56pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Back to first painting....Is this better?
December 29, 2012 at 4:58pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Sorry...direct shot is better. It doesn't look too large for the space?
December 29, 2012 at 5:00pm   
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fabia
Like it!! Edit mantle. no candles and no urn.
December 29, 2012 at 5:04pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Nothing at all on the mantle? Should I put some tiny tea lights or anything?
December 29, 2012 at 5:08pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Now I also have a bunch of olive jars that I'm trying to figure out where I can use them!
December 29, 2012 at 5:12pm   
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fabia
Soulflower, you have a lovely home. But you love too many things :). no tea lights on mantle. There is a lot of furniture in this room. The view is so important.I think it would be nice to remove a lot of the little things. BUT, if you like them , or they give you memories, comfort or peace. Keep them near. To edit. now I am going to be harsh. Remove all little things. Then bring them back one by one. You really don't need all of them distrcting from your room. I also liked that rose chair in first position, so the person sitting there could see the lake too. I like the toy kitchen...
December 29, 2012 at 5:36pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Thank you. I don't mind and I really appreciate harsh. I would not be posting photos if I didn't want comments. It is not that I like too much stuff..it's just that I don't know which to remove and which to keep. I'd love for someone to come over and arrange the bookshelves. Less clutter would be great but I don't want it to be bare....I don't really know what to get rid of and what to keep.

I can move the chair in the first position...then what about the red stool? That would put it almost under the tv on that side of the chair. Should I move it to the other side of the chair (and to the right of the fireplace just like the other one) or since I have so much stuff, should I take them out all together?
December 29, 2012 at 5:55pm   
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TanCalGal
I like the new minimalism!
December 29, 2012 at 6:01pm   
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sandrasoulflower
What do minimalist put on their bookshelves? I've removed some things. Do I have too many books? I also moved the chair back to the first position and moved the red stool to the other side matching the other one. Leave it or remove them totally?
December 29, 2012 at 6:09pm   
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TanCalGal
Oh gosh. I have to take everything off a shelf and put stuff back and step back and look. It sometimes takes a long time. Here's a quickie:
Right bookcase: On upper, I might have only the brown dog on the books & books on that shelf going all across (no spaces). Next shelf with 2 plates looks fine, but I might add the fat red book (on next lower shelf) to lean to the right. Next shelf looks fine. Next shelf I might have the 3 pottery urns. Next shelf (lowest) I might place the light color dog on the dark books that are on R.
Bookcase on left: top shelf is OK with 3 plates, but I might remove teapot. Next shelf some books and teapot on books. Next shelf books all across.
I think I'd remove the wall wrought iron piece with candles. What is to left of bookcases? Could bookcases be centered?
December 29, 2012 at 6:56pm   
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TanCalGal
Oh gosh. I have to take everything off a shelf and put stuff back and step back and look. It sometimes takes a long time. Here's a quickie:
Right bookcase: On upper, I might have only the brown dog on the books & books on that shelf going all across (no spaces). Next shelf with 2 plates looks fine, but I might add the fat red book (on next lower shelf) to lean to the right. Next shelf looks fine. Next shelf I might have the 3 pottery urns. Next shelf (lowest) I might place the light color dog on the dark books that are on R.
Bookcase on left: top shelf is OK with 3 plates, but I might remove teapot. Next shelf some books and teapot on books. Next shelf books all across.
I think I'd remove the wall wrought iron piece with candles. What is to left of bookcases? Could bookcases be centered?
December 29, 2012 at 6:58pm   
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sandrasoulflower
ooops, I had already done a bit before i saw this post but I think this is better. Is it too minimalist in places?

The book cases are not centered on the wall but they are centered with the arrangement of the room, if that makes any sense. If I centered them will the wall it would look like they were hanging off down there by themselves....I think.... I might have to try it.
December 29, 2012 at 7:22pm   
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TanCalGal
Try my suggestions & see what you think, except as follows:
The wicker basket is nice on R bookcase shelf # 4.
L bookcase on shelf # 2 maybe 3 urns there?
This is a step back and look process. Also you can change items around from time to time. Put some things in closet and bring out at a later date for a change.
December 29, 2012 at 7:41pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Very helpful. Thank you soooooo much!!! I did try your ideas with a slight change of the urns and it's getting better.

(sorry about that football game...hubby is getting excited about the minimalist look because he is in charge of dusting! LOL!!!)
December 29, 2012 at 7:52pm     
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sandrasoulflower
What is your opinion on the position of the red stools....or taking them out all together?
December 29, 2012 at 7:56pm   
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TanCalGal
Good. I might try the dog on shelf # 3 where the tea pot is and the teapot where the dog is. Separate 3 urns a little bit. One day you'll pass the book shelves and decide this or that should be changed. It's the perception of balance, color, shape & form... I find it interesting, but it can drive me batty, too.
December 29, 2012 at 8:03pm   
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sandrasoulflower
The urns are the hardest......something just seems not right....That and the red stools, I'm not sure about. The two red stools were at the foot of my bed before I moved them in here.
December 29, 2012 at 8:07pm   
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Karen Emmons
Looks great, I liked the oil painting though :)
December 29, 2012 at 8:10pm     
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TanCalGal
Red stools: I'm not a fan, but the color is great. How often do you plan to use them? Can they go in a closet?
December 29, 2012 at 8:10pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I will probably change the paintings back and forth. The oil painting will get another appearance. The red stools can go back to the bedroom at the end of the bed.
December 29, 2012 at 8:13pm   
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TanCalGal
I think the "problem" with the urns might be: they are pottery and the other decor in book shelves is fine china, wicker and books. It's unsettling to see the rustic urns with the china.
December 29, 2012 at 8:16pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
Keep pub table as desk if needed or remove altogether. Swap 2 large beige chairs and couch. Do not put a table between the chairs so they can be tilted on angles a bit toward each other. I'd like to see how this fits in the room. Ultimately if those two beige chairs were deleted you could do much more with room as it is a bit overloaded with furniture but if u have lots of company or a large family and need the seating space i understand. Also consider wall mounting tv over fireplace and deleting entertainment center...then you could use that wall for couch or two chairs and art and put the single leather chair where the two chairs currently are. I like the idea of the pub table on wall behind couch. The piece that is currently there...could it go in another room...foyer...dining or kitchen?
December 29, 2012 at 8:34pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
Sorry...just realized your tv is too big for over the fireplace.
December 29, 2012 at 8:35pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
The kitchen....love the cherry cabinets they look like they are in excellent condition. Instead of painting them....invest that money or effort in taking down that horrible fluorescent fixture and install recessed lighting in kitchen. If you do..they need to be about 3 inches out from the cabinet crown molding so you don't cast a shadow as you stand at counter. Put enough around the room to well light all countertops. If you cannot afford to do the recessed lighting at leat Chang the fluorescent fixture to a decorative surface mount fixture or partial surface mount ....hangs down less than a foot....that takes at least 3 bulbs so it will be bright enough. You can also often override the wattage rating on fixtures by using cfl bulbs that use less watts and produce substantially less heat but put out more lumens. For example you can use a 23 watt cfl bulbs that puts out as much light or lumens as a 100 watt incandescent bulbs in place of a 60 watt incandescent bulb and it will be cooler and less watts than even the 60 watt bulb so it's actually safer and more energy efficient but puts out much more light.
December 29, 2012 at 8:52pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
The kitchen....love the cherry cabinets they look like they are in excellent condition. Instead of painting them....invest that money or effort in taking down that horrible fluorescent fixture and install recessed lighting in kitchen. If you do..they need to be about 3 inches out from the cabinet crown molding so you don't cast a shadow as you stand at counter. Put enough around the room to well light all countertops. If you cannot afford to do the recessed lighting at leat Chang the fluorescent fixture to a decorative surface mount fixture or partial surface mount ....hangs down less than a foot....that takes at least 3 bulbs so it will be bright enough. You can also often override the wattage rating on fixtures by using cfl bulbs that use less watts and produce substantially less heat but put out more lumens. For example you can use a 23 watt cfl bulbs that puts out as much light or lumens as a 100 watt incandescent bulbs in place of a 60 watt incandescent bulb and it will be cooler and less watts than even the 60 watt bulb so it's actually safer and more energy efficient but puts out much more light.
December 29, 2012 at 8:53pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
Kitchen. Cherry cabs are perfect. The problem is that horrible fluorescent light...change to recessed around the kitchen but about 3 inches out from cabinet crown so as to not cast shadows on your work area as u stand at counter. If you can't afford...
December 29, 2012 at 8:57pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
If u can't afford to change to recessed lights then change the fluorescent to a surface mount or semi surface mount ...hangs down a foot or less...decorative fixture. Make sure it has at least two to three sockets though for enough light. Also to get enough light from it most lights are rated for a max of 60 watt incandescent bulbs...this is to avoid too much heat buildup....to get around this use warm or soft white 23 watt cfl bulbs...they give out as much light or lumens as 100 watt incandescents but only about 10% of the heat and use less energy so they will work well to provide extra light. If you have undercounter lights and a light over sink...use them as well.
December 29, 2012 at 9:06pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
If u can't afford to change to recessed lights then change the fluorescent to a surface mount or semi surface mount ...hangs down a foot or less...decorative fixture. Make sure it has at least two to three sockets though for enough light. Also to get enough light from it most lights are rated for a max of 60 watt incandescent bulbs...this is to avoid too much heat buildup....to get around this use warm or soft white 23 watt cfl bulbs...they give out as much light or lumens as 100 watt incandescents but only about 10% of the heat and use less energy so they will work well to provide extra light. If you have undercounter lights and a light over sink...use them as well.
December 29, 2012 at 9:06pm   
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Just Jon Home Remodeling, Design and Build
Sorry for repeated posts...it kept saying server error so I thought they didn't get posted
December 29, 2012 at 9:07pm   
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CASTLE Design Studio LLC
Hi SandraSoulFlower (sweet name), I wanted to play too! Here's just an option which breaks apart the entertainment unit (as you mentioned earlier) and places the pub table where it acts as a foyer table and functional table plus the desk is behind the sofa just as a console table. Perhaps also try eliminating the casegood next to the dining table plus put alot of the art onto the bookcases (like the chickens). While I've heard many wise designers say to gather collections together, it seems to work better to merge the mix of items together around an entire space (like formal China plus rustic elements-pretty). Just an option. Best, Diane
December 29, 2012 at 9:56pm     
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fabia
Bookcases are getting better. Good job. Get rid of red stools. Period. or hide them. In reference to your kitchen, leave it as is. It does live nicely with your other furniture.
December 29, 2012 at 10:16pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Thanks everyone!!!

Just Jon, I completely agree with you about the kitchen lighting. I have often wondered why they put 'can lighting' all over the house and stuck that there. I would be willing to change that to a surface mount or a partial surface mount but have now idea what would look appropriate there. If you know of anything in particular, I'd love recommendations.

I've also swapped the two chairs with the couch and had it arranged like that. It does work but the couch where it is looks much cleaner. Also, when the couch is where the two chairs are, it's longer and there's no room for the end tables for lighting. Part of the couch is on the wall and the other part is hanging over, but I do arrange it like this sometimes.

Insideout, your arrangement is very interesting but the first thing I notice is that the tv is behind the two chairs? My husband sits in on of those chairs to watch tv and I do have to continue to live here with him. ;) I wish that chest would work behind the sofa but it is a bit too tall. Shouldn't anything behind a sofa be the same height or a little lower?

I have considered breaking the bookshelves up (or even getting rid of them) and putting them on that big wall behind the sofa. When I try to put too much on that wall I sometimes wonder if it looks like I have a big wall that I'm working hard to fill up. It almost feels like less is more with the chest and the pictures for a focal point. (Oh, and the toy kitchen for fun! LOL It will be gone soon enough, sadly.)

The red stools are gone. I'm sorry I missed your first comment about getting rid of them, fabia. Somehow I over looked that but it feels more open.

Walking into the room this morning and looking at the bookshelves, it feels much less cluttered and better! I appreciate all the excellent advice.
December 30, 2012 at 6:20am     
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pcmom1
Another happy houzzer!
December 30, 2012 at 8:37am   
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sandrasoulflower
Ok, I've been at it again! I got the rug centered from the edge of the fireplace out, got the entertainment center centered with the rug. I took down the wrought iron thing with candles at the end of the entertainment center. I moved chairs around.

Things I love:

The chairs seem balanced and not quite as big when they are spread apart like that. The table in the corner can have both chairs to a side and it's not nearly as squeezed in.

I love the smaller, low back chair beside the couch because it also feels like it opens up the area to the dining area. If you were seated at the end of the table it felt like you were hemmed in and it was nearly impossible for someone to walk around the person at the end to get to the back side of the table.

What I don't love:

The backs of the two chairs are to the view of the lake. There's no table beside either of them for sitting a cup or a book, etc. One chair has the floor lamp. I'm not so sure that is great but the other chair has no lighting at all. (This is where I almost need the red stools back beside each chair!)

Does this arrangement look better? In this case do you choose looks over function?

So, houzzers, what do you think? Thank you!!!
December 30, 2012 at 12:35pm     
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TanCalGal
I like the room more & more. Maybe someday you could buy 360 degree swivel chairs for that area to enjoy the view sometimes and room seating at other times (decoenthu mentions this & gives photos). I'd bring back the 2 ottomans for tables and have them between FP & each chair. If you need light near the chairs, I'd buy 2 apothecary floors lamps.


I might try moving the short back chair a little closer to the sofa, so it is almost a sectional look. I'd try: the dog in L bookcase, I'd place him in the center of that shelf on the books, with the taller books on each side (or maybe dog on R side of shelf with tall books to his left-I can't decide...). I think the mantel needs a little something more: I'd try the 3 candles that are on the coffee table there. If you think the pottery urns are too heavy: maybe the 3 DR pieces (sugar, creamer, teapot?) would look good.
December 30, 2012 at 1:22pm   
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sandrasoulflower
HA! I was just bringing back the ottomans before I read this. Here they are. Now I I think they may actually work in this case. I'll go try the other things.
December 30, 2012 at 1:43pm     
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sandrasoulflower
I had the small red chair centered with the coffee table but I moved it in closer like a sectional. I'm not sure if it is better or worse since now it is off center.

I changed the dog on the right so that he is mirroring the dog on the left. I can still try changing the dog on the left if you think I should.

I'm loving this room more and more. Swivel chairs would indeed be perfect one day.
December 30, 2012 at 1:54pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Not so sure the little candles do much for the mantle.

Also I pulled the couch back a tiny bit and the coffee table back so it's more centered.
December 30, 2012 at 2:03pm     
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TanCalGal
You're right, candles don't do the trick. But I do like the center placement and I would look through my cabinets or thrift shops for something else. Maybe a simple brass bowl or brass box in center.
December 30, 2012 at 2:54pm   
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TanCalGal
I didn't see your other photos & message. The dog change looks good, I think the dogs should be facing, though. I like the short chair closer to the sofa, but I am only seeing little snippets of room (not the full picture). The red ottomans R fine, I think I'd push them farther back and the chairs more toward the fireplace (so only a glimpse of the ottoman is seen).
December 30, 2012 at 3:00pm   
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fabia
Love love your changes,
December 30, 2012 at 3:07pm   
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putty527
I would take the picture down from the mantle. It is a really nice pic, but a little too big and busy for the area. Would you be able to fit your tv over the mantle? That would free up more wall space for you to change some furniture around.
December 30, 2012 at 3:12pm   
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sandrasoulflower
No, the TV is too large to go over the fireplace.
December 30, 2012 at 3:21pm   
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pcmom1
I also love the picture, but not placed above the mantle. To me it just seems too large for that spot. I was actually wondering.... would it work in the dining room, next to the mirror? On that wall you would certainly get to enjoy it, and the wall is large enough to handle it.

Could you post a shot of the fireplace with nothing at all on it. No pictures, candles, etc.

I am thinking that with the lake view out the window, you don't need a competing scene. I would suggest a round mirror above the fireplace. You have created a very nice grouping on the wall opposite that a mirror would reflect.
December 30, 2012 at 3:35pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Sorry I can't get a good photo of all of it. It has also gotten dark now so it's harder to photograph, I moved the chairs closer in to the fireplace and moved the ottomans back. Instead of a plant on the table, I put a lamp. I moved the oil painting back...just to see. I do think the size is better and it is very traditional. The scene is also a water like our lake. I turned the dogs facing in and changed the urns to the teapot and sugar and creamer.

What do you like and what do you dislike? Thank all of you so much. You are all awesome!
December 30, 2012 at 3:39pm   
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sandrasoulflower
The blue thing on the sofa - there is a tiny black dog sleeping there that does not want to be disturbed or photographed. HA!!!
December 30, 2012 at 3:40pm   
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pcmom1
I'm not a designer, so we need some pros to chime in here. I think the fireplace itself is a problem. The mantle is so heavy for its size. And the black facing (marble? tile?) is just creating this "black hole" in the room.

I think if the mantle were removed and the entire fireplace: floor to ceiling were done in one, lighter treatment, it would just work better! If I knew how to post images I would, but try searching FP on Houzz.
December 30, 2012 at 3:51pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I will take the picture off the mantle with nothing on it tomorrow when it is daylight and the lake view is visible. Thanks!

The larger picture can go back in another room where it already was. It's too large to go beside the mirror. I've had a (more vertical) picture beside the mirror in the dining room and it just seemed like too much or unbalanced.
December 30, 2012 at 3:51pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I agree, the fireplace/mantle setup is not the best! I also don't care for the wrap around mantle. I'm not sure why they did that other than to make it appear larger.
December 30, 2012 at 3:53pm   
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TanCalGal
Looking good. I'm not in favor of expensive changes. I know others tear their houses apart & rip this and gut that, but I'm absolutely not one of them. I like to work with houses just as they are and place the items I've bought (or inherited) attractively within.
I like the art with frame better, maybe the bird (?) on coffee table in center underneath art? Tea pot in center of shelf maybe with handle toward window & sugar and cream on each side with handles not near tea pot. Plant in a more muted pot (I often choose a wicker basket).
December 30, 2012 at 4:22pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I'd love to be able to do major changes but I am not able to rip things our or replace furniture right now. The walls are Sherwin Williams Latte and I'd like to paint them a lighter color (I think) later.

Funny that you mentioned the bird. Right before I read this I had stuck it along with another smaller one up there.

I do appreciate all the help and guidance in getting rid of too much 'stuff' and placement/working with what I have. Many thanks to all of you!
December 30, 2012 at 5:05pm     
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applejuice
Comparing to first pictures, the result up to now is great! i would consider some pillows on sofa and chairs.
December 30, 2012 at 10:49pm   
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athtex
What fun! You have been busy! I'll add my 2 cents- I still think you could use some "lightening up"- I would get rid of chair to L of sofa & wonder if you really need pub table? Think about changing coffee table to something w/ glass/metal- Also agree with repainting e-center a lighter color, & would include mantle too! . My favorite site for 'How-to' on furniture refinishing is http://makelyhome.com/, was 'Living with Lindsey.' I have followed her recs with beautiful results! Other good blogs are: HomeStoriesAtoZ, AllThingsThrifty, & NotJustAHousewife. Keep up the great work-
December 31, 2012 at 12:38am   
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sandrasoulflower
Great blogs!!!

Solid wood furniture is largely a thing of the past and the entertainment center is not solid wood. It is some type of press board/engineered wood. Can you paint that? What color would you paint it?

What color would you paint the mantle and what color would you suggest for the entire room? Suggestions welcome from everyone as far as color.

Thank you so much!!!
December 31, 2012 at 6:22am   
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TanCalGal
I think wood and walls look fine. I might try: cutting foam board to fit the back of book shelves, painting foam board the same color as the walls & placing it in the back of the book shelves. Happy New Year!
December 31, 2012 at 5:18pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Great idea! I might have to give that a try if I can find foam board. Thanks and Happy New Year!
December 31, 2012 at 5:26pm     
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sandrasoulflower
On the apothecary lamps, I was wondering if I should get antique brass or oil rubbed bronze.
January 1, 2013 at 8:59am   
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TanCalGal
I'd bring home one of each & try, if all else fails.. From here, I'd say antique brass. I keep reading "brass is back" from many designers (Jonathan Adler, was one). The floor lamp you have, reads like ORB and it seems a little dark. Or place a "gold" sofa lamp on an ottoman, step back, and see what you think. The sofa lamps are more gold than antique brass, but might give an idea. I think the antique brass would repeat the brightness of frame over FP, too.
January 1, 2013 at 9:50am   
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sandrasoulflower
I would have to order online because I don't have a store locally. I wondered if I already had enough gold and the bronze would blend more with the dark of the fireplace. The floor lamp I already have is oil rubbed bronze.
January 1, 2013 at 9:57am   
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Diana Thornbury
Very cozy room. A few things that would make it even more cozy: Move the smaller chair to the toy kitchen area to make a reading nook. Maybe add another chair to it. Still would have room for the toy kitchen until they out grow it too:) Love the general furniture arrangement as it faces both the windows and the TV (A challenge we have had in our family room!) Definitely too much big stuff on the mantle. Pretty items, just too big. Just saw your updated photo: the art it too big for the wall. Smaller art and add some tall candlesticks to one side and a plant to the other side. Remember groupings of three adds balance. The DR table does seem oddly off balance in the room but I see why you have it there. Maybe lose the tea cart, swag the chand to the center and center the table. There would still be a path to the kitchen. Kitchen cabs are nice, but change out the light for sure. And i love the pop of red with the foot stools! Not sure I like them so balanced with the chairs, but I don't have a suggestion. Sorry.
January 1, 2013 at 10:26am   
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TanCalGal
My take: the antique brass would add light and life to the area as the frame does & repeat the frame. Bring attention to & repeat items in a room that are beautiful, like the frame. Don't repeat and bring attention to the dark fireplace.

January 1, 2013 at 10:42am   
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sandrasoulflower
Would it be too much with two matching chairs, matching foot stools and lamps?
January 1, 2013 at 10:50am   
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TanCalGal
I have a traditional decor (& so do you). I like symmetry and many designers who love traditional love symmetry, too. When you R not sure something is right in a room, this often means you should hold off for a while. "Not to decide is to decide" Country Houses The Ladue House
January 1, 2013 at 11:05am     
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sandrasoulflower
Thanks. I'm never quite sure which is why I requested expert help of houzzers. :)
January 1, 2013 at 11:10am   
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sandrasoulflower
Diana, I meant to mention - the back wall is balanced (other than the kitchen). Putting that larger chair back there would really throw things off balance.
January 1, 2013 at 11:20am   
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pcmom1
Getting down to just some final tweaks!

The small plant you have close to the window I would put inside a larger ceramic container. One in a cream with a raised motif. Sit a small block of wood inside, so that the plant is level with the top. (Basically, putting the pot inside a larger pot!).

Then add another larger matching ceramic planter to the back opposite corner (opposite toy kitchen) and add a larger plant. Top off both with dried moss, pulled over the lip to hang down slightly.

I would add something with a little gleam to your coffee table. Maybe an old plate with a gold edge.

Room is looking good!
January 1, 2013 at 11:21am   
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sandrasoulflower
The entire coffee table needs work. A plate sitting flat? Instead of the book? What about height? Will work on the plant.
January 1, 2013 at 11:25am   
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TanCalGal
Everyone will arrange in a different way. Glad you R "shopping" from your stash. Experiment with the items you have & change from time to time. I might put the large plant in a wicker basket on right and 3 books on top of one another on left. Another time the blue & white "ginger jar" on right with the tea pot with handle and 3 books on left. Seems to me there are some "rules" concerning placement. I'm not home, to see if I have the article. if company is expected, I often remove some stuff to make room for drinks and snacks...
January 1, 2013 at 2:12pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Thanks. I'd love to know the rules for placement.
January 1, 2013 at 2:15pm   
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TanCalGal
I'll be away 4 a few more days. I'll look 4 article at home. If you don't hear from me in a week, send me a message through this post.
January 1, 2013 at 2:21pm   
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TanCalGal
This may (or may not) be the article I was thinking of. Maria Killam is a wonderful designer. If you subscribe to her blog, you will learn so much. Here is one of her blogs on tablescapes. http://www.mariakillam.com/2009/08/vancouver-stylist-how-to-create-a-vignette-or-tablescape.html
January 1, 2013 at 2:28pm   
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susanmitch
Put a tray centered on your coffee table at an angle. It needs something to breakup all of the brown in the room. Paint it green distressed and layer on some accessories.
January 1, 2013 at 2:36pm     
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sandrasoulflower
Thanks for the blog link.

Great idea Susan! What would you suggest on the tray?
January 1, 2013 at 3:36pm   
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susanmitch
You can put a bonsai plant, a small conservatory with greenery, a bowl with balls. Just play around with the items. The rule of thumb for accessorizing is to keep the number of accessories odd 3, 5...
You can stack books on one end of the table and top with a paperweight and put candleholders at other end. Just make sure that the table is balanced and the heights are not all the same.
January 1, 2013 at 3:50pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Thank you. My rug has green, red, blue and goldish tan. I use all of those colors in my accessories. Is it better to focus on one primary color and pull that out?
January 1, 2013 at 4:18pm   
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susanmitch
It would be nice to have throw pillows with the colors in them. A little red in the room goes a long way and personally I wouldn't add more. That is why I suggested the green or it could be blue. Your furniture has a lot of red in it already and the green or blue will help soften the large pieces of red/brown.
January 1, 2013 at 4:26pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Early on in this thread someone posted swivel chairs. Can anyone recommend any small chairs that rock and swivel that could be used in this room? Or is there such a thing...
January 27, 2013 at 8:02pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I'm considering replacing the two large chairs with two swivel chairs like this and wanted to get opinions. Thanks!
January 30, 2013 at 3:39pm   
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sandrasoulflower
another pattern......I'm trying to select something more traditional that will go with the existing rug and not too dark or busy.
January 30, 2013 at 3:42pm     
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pcmom1
I like this second chair more. It will brighten up the room and looks more the color in the pillow in the center of the large sofa.
January 30, 2013 at 3:50pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Here it is in a blue mingled.
January 30, 2013 at 3:54pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Also, the room now is Latte and I'm thinking about painting it a lighter color to brighten it up.

This room looks similar to my rug and sofa so I'm wondering if this paint color would be a good color for me:
http://www.houzz.com/discussions/61012
January 30, 2013 at 4:00pm   
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TanCalGal
Don't match chairs to a color in a pillow. Make sure the chairs pull a color from the rug. From here the 1st chair looks best. I like the wall paint U have, I think the pale yellow is too light. Keep us posted.
January 30, 2013 at 5:03pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I ended up ordering two of these. They look more modern and are small with a lower back than the chair I posted right above. They swivel which will give a better view of the lake. I was able to bring home an upholstered dining room chair that is in the same fabric to test and make sure it matched the rug.

I should have them in a month. I'm excited about this solution and think it will lighten the room.

Once I get the chairs, I suppose I should pick up the same colors for pillows for the sofa. Opinions ??? Thank everyone again for all the help in helping me reach this decision.
February 1, 2013 at 4:34pm     
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TanCalGal
New chairs will be nice, I think. And the swivel seems ideal 4 that LR with view.
I see an oriental style area rug with accents of olive green and coral. Kinda like this Traditional Family Room
On sofa 2 + 2 looks good, pulling colors from rug. Buy 2 solid olive green and 2 print coral & have green + coral & repeat on other side. Agni Berry Pillow
I probably would not have any pillows on the new chairs. See here: View of Living Room

If U feel new chairs need pillows 4 comfort, a quite small rectangle pillow maybe in the beige or if U like one of the accent colors: olive or coral. I'd probably go with beige. A Modern Gem
February 1, 2013 at 5:18pm   
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sandrasoulflower
Thank you. I don't plan to put pillows in the new chairs. I have also had difficulty finding the exact green that is in the rug. It's not exactly olive. I've found lots of greens but nothing that is this same shade.
February 1, 2013 at 5:53pm   
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TanCalGal
Interesting color. It could be a grayed-green popular in Asian ceramics: Celadon Green. Try to find the color in a paint chip and carry it with you for reference.
February 1, 2013 at 6:05pm   
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sandrasoulflower
I thought you might be interested to know that after all that, this house was a total loss during the recent tornado in Mississippi. The roof blew off and four walls fell. We were inside during the tornado huddled in the hall. We are alive and that's really all that matters.
February 21, 2013 at 12:04pm   
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misecretary
I just found this thread and read thru the entire thing. I am so very sorry to hear that; but you are correct -- alive, safe, and sound is all that matters. I wish you and your family well.
February 21, 2013 at 12:30pm   
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Diana Thornbury
Oh I'm so sorry to hear about your home. So glad you're all safe. You can rebuild walls and a roof and start from scratch with all these ideas. Blessings to you!
February 21, 2013 at 12:46pm   
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pcmom1
Wow! This really puts life into perspective! Glad you and your family are safe.
February 21, 2013 at 1:04pm   
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TanCalGal
Thank you for for telling us of this horrible event. Happy to hear you and your family survived.
February 21, 2013 at 1:24pm   
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